Skills anticipation facilitates the green transition in European economies and societies by helping develop the necessary skills and the right jobs to make optimal use of these skills.

This is the main conclusion of the 14th Cedefop Brussels seminar that was organised as part of the European Year of Skills virtually alongside the Swedish Presidency of the Council of the European Union on 19 June and attracted more than 230 attendees: policy-makers, social stakeholders, academics and experts.

Discussions at the event addressed the expected skill needs relevant to green technological and social innovation and the ways in which vocational education and training (VET) can best address them; and the role of skills governance and innovative skills anticipation in supporting policy- making to make the green transition happen.

Opening the event, Cedefop Executive Director Jürgen Siebel noted that vocational education and training (VET) was best placed to deliver the higher-level skills needed for the digital and green transitions and added: 'Via our skills anticipation work on the green transition, we broaden the understanding of the megashift that greening actually is. Greening is a jobs engine, and from our forecast and foresight work, we see green jobs – and jobs that support the green transition more generally – on the horizon almost everywhere. To tap the opportunities that the green transition brings – and to accelerate it – we need to translate green innovation into skills and then into VET programmes and curricula; and then we need to provide those programmes at scale.'

The green transition is good news for EU employment

Åsa Petri, Chair of the Education Committee of the Swedish Presidency, asserted that the green transition could only succeed if the EU has the skilled workforce for it, while Cedefop Deputy Director Mara Brugia said that the green transition was good news for EU employment: 'At least in the medium-long term, it has the potential to create new jobs, while securing a more sustainable future for all.'

The seminar's sessions focused on:

  • The skills' importance for boosting 'greenovation'. Examples came from a wide range of Cedefop sectoral reports, complemented by state-of-the art approaches in the circular economy and the automotive industry.
  • Anticipating and matching of skills with the needs of the green economy. Among other examples, approaches from 'brown' economy regions, undergoing revitalisation and fast-growing wind power plant industry were highlighted.

In the concluding policy panel, representatives of the European Commision's Directorate General for the Environment, the Directorate General for Employment, Social affairs and Inclusion, the International Energy Agency and the Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education reflected on how to forge stronger links between green innovation, skills anticipation and VET, concluding that strong partnerships in skills ecosystems and policy learning from good practice can be leveraged to speed up the green transition.

All presentations of the 14th Cedefop Brussels seminar available here.